Ampatuans told: Stop whining, face charges
DAVAO CITY—Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu said some members of the Ampatuan clan who were included in the new list of accused in the 2009 massacre of 58 people, should shut up and instead face the charges filed against them.
The new list of 50 additional suspects included Mayor Reshal Ampatuan of Datu Unsay town. Reshal, wife of former Datu Unsay mayor and prime Maguindanao massacre suspect Andal Ampatuan Jr., in a five-page letter, earlier asked Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to investigate the alleged abuses committed by Mangudadatu, accusing the governor of using his clout to harass the Ampatuans.
But Mangudadatu denied Reshal’s allegations, saying government prosecutors, not him, filed the new charges in connection with the massacre.
Early this year, Reshal was replaced as mayor as she has not been reporting for work amid charges of involvement in the killing of her uncle, Abdullah Ampatuan, in July 2013. Judge George Sabido of the Regional Trial Court Branch 16 based in Cotabato City had issued an arrest warrant against Reshal.
Mangudadatu said he had nothing to do with the filing of the case.
“This is what I’ve been telling them, that if they are angry at somebody, they should not kill but instead talk to them,” the governor said.
Reshal also recently wrote the Supreme Court seeking an investigation of Judge Sabido and Provincial Prosecutor Tocod Ronda for allegedly conniving with Mangudadatu.
But Mangudadatu said he has no power over Sabido and Ronda.
“These are independent people. How can I have control over them? They were just acting on cases filed against the Ampatuans,” he said.
Reshal also accused Mangudadatu of initiating the case filed against Shariff Aguak Mayor Zahara Ampatuan, wife of massacre accused Anwar. Zahara has been in hiding since last year.
Mangudadatu also denied being behind the filing of the case against Zahara.
In a separate interview, Archie Amelista, son of former Sangguniang Bayan secretary Alfredo Amelista, said he was the one who filed the case against Zahara.
“The victim was our father, we didn’t need the governor to file a case against the suspects,” Amelista told the Inquirer in an interview.
Amelista, a policeman, said he witnessed the killing of his father just outside their residence in Shariff Aguak on April 3 last year.
“I saw the killers. I even threw stones at them while they were shooting my father,” he said.
He identified the suspects as Kanurin Tayuan and Rambo Guiasalim alias “London,” whom he said were Zahara’s men.
“There’s no need to investigate because we know the suspects are Zahara’s loyalists,” he said.
Another witness claimed seeing Tayuan and Guiasalim talking to Zahara at the municipal hall before the killing.
Zahara, in her counter-affidavit, denied the charges.
Mangudadatu said what was more interesting was that the suspects and victims in the cases are members of the Ampatuan clan.
Amelista confirmed to the Inquirer that his mother, Bai Puti, is a sister of the Ampatuan patriarch—Andal Sr.
“Zahara’s husband, Anwar, is a first cousin,” he said.
Reshal was also accused of being behind the killing of her uncle Abdullah Ampatuan. “So why blame me?” Mangudadatu said.
Reshal and Zahara had been included in the additional list of suspects in the Maguindanao massacre that left 58 people dead, including Mangudadatu’s wife, sister, relatives and supporters. Nico Alconaba, Inquirer Mindanao
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